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Pilot reviews of Old Warden Airfield

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Pilot reviews of Old Warden Airfield

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Thu 10 Sep - Stephen Nuttall - 0.5 NM North of HMS Nightjar

Flew into Old Warden on Friday 4 September 2020 from Blackpool, prompted partly by having always wanting to visit, but also by having just read Mike Brookes’ recent book, ‘Flying Past’, covering lots of his flying experience but in particular, including his time flying some of the Shuttleworth Collection aircraft. (I have all five of his aviation memoire books – well worth a read, they are an excellent insight into post-war RAF and test flying.) What I cannot understand is why this airfield isn’t mentioned more often on here!

 

So here’s the thing: I love old country houses and their gardens, old-fashioned museums and grass airfields and Old Warden has the lot. With Covid-19 restrictions, I had to book a slot in advance, (easily done on-line); and wear a face-mask indoors. The restaurant, house and visitor’s centre were closed due to the restrictions, but the gardens and museum were open together with a snack bar inside a huge marque, serving lovely sandwiches and some of the nicest coffee I have ever had at an airfield - plus I could sit in the glorious gardens whilst eating the sandwich.

 

Fuel was a snip at only £1.60/litre at the self-service pumps, again really easy to use, even for me. The landing and entrance fee was only £10, which covered the aircraft, and entrance to the gardens and museum for all occupants. On the basis that entry by car or foot is £15 per person, this must be the only place I have visited that gives a discount for arriving by air. What is more, the whole site is dog-friendly, (although our greyhounds had a better offer that day and I travelled on my own.)

 

I took an hour long walk around the gardens before spending three hours looking at the aircraft, cars, motorbikes and pushbikes at the museum – I could have easily spent twice as long. I sat with my final cup of coffee looking at the radio-controlled gliders doing aerobatics whilst sat in the sun with the smell of newly mown grass in the air. Does life get any better?

 

I was smitten by this airfield: the easy going atmosphere; the amazing museum, (including the oldest flying aircraft - and aero engine - in the world, the 1909 Bleriot XI); the glorious gardens; and the friendliness of every member of staff. This is now my top airfield destination, and I just cannot wait to get back, perhaps to one of the evening flying events when life gets back to normal.

 

If you haven’t already been, I think you will be charmed. (If you have any soul at all!)

  • Quality and value of food / drink: 5
  • Standard of runway: 5
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 5
  • Friendliness of welcome: 5
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10 Jan 17 - Neil Murgatroyd - Esher

Runway in good condition. No landing fee. I didn't have time to ask/check out if collection is free for pilots but I think it is. Spot the big house to help find the field.

Good restaurant, great place to meet.

Great phone briefing but fast.

  • Quality and value of food / drink: 5
  • Standard of runway: 5
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 5
  • Friendliness of welcome: 5
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25 Oct 13 - Dave Hall - Pensford, Bristol
Superb grass runway, but PPR briefing essential - no manned ATS when we visited. Excellent museum of veteran/vintage aircraft. Landing fee £12, but join the SVAS (Shuttleworth Veteran Aircraft Society) and get free landings, hangar access, shop discounts and a quarterly magazine for £25.
  • Quality and value of food / drink: 4
  • Standard of runway: 5
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 4
  • Friendliness of welcome: 5
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1 Jul 12 - Keith Parker - Surrey
Visited Old Warden Saturday as a club flyout. We also took in the Suttleworth Collect, which if you have not visited yet is one of the best collection of historic aircraft I have seen in one place. Runway although only 628m was one of the best grass strips I have ever used, everyone was so helpfull.Other attaction on site are also worth a visit. This place is a must do for anyone who likes historic aircraft, we will go back, to watch one of theiri Flying Days. Jsut a really great day out, Thank you Old Warden
  • Quality and value of food / drink: 5
  • Standard of runway: 5
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 5
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 5
  • Friendliness of welcome: 5
  • GA pilot briefing facilities: 3
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11 Mar 12 - Luke Scambler - Cambourne
Not as easy to find as you might like, but due to the fact it's the Shuttleworth collection, always a friendly welcome and plenty of facilities. Great selection of cakes, too...
  • Quality and value of food / drink: 5
  • Standard of runway: 4
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 4
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 4
  • Friendliness of welcome: 5
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22 Sep 09 - Ken Buchanan - London
Nice runways and interesting collection - it just goes on and on! Don't be put off (like I was for years) by the apparently officious procedures in the Pooley's. They are quite friendly on the phone and then after that it is blind calls but it was very quiet when I was there. Good value for the pilot as the landing fee (£10) covers the museum. And since the cafe caters to the museum unlike many others it is open on Mondays! Briefing facilities seemed non-existent but I didn't really need any.
  • Quality and value of food / drink: 4
  • Standard of runway: 4
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 5
  • Friendliness of welcome: 4
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13 Oct 08 - Steven Bailey - London
Neat airfield in a lovely setting. No radio when we visited, just a careful briefing over the 'phone. Marshalled in by the aeromodellers—thank you! Welcoming staff in the very good cafeteria, the impressive Shuttleworth Collection and the bird of prey centre: all very well worth a family visit. Runway markings were invisible when we visited but the runway was smooth and the taxiways were well maintained. Very reasonable £10 landing fee also admits one to the Shuttleworth collection.
  • Quality and value of food / drink: 4
  • Standard of runway: 4
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 5
  • Friendliness of welcome: 4
  • GA pilot briefing facilities: 4
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23 Sep 08 - Sean McMurran - daventry
We try and use Old Warden for a quick fly-in when we have a free couple of hours as it is always an enjoyable airfield to visit offering great facilities and there is always plenty going on at weekends. Often during the week there will be some form of display on as well, and if you take advantage of the membership which lasts for a year from date of joining means you can land there for free or a small charge on airshow days. Just be aware though that the events happen quite often at weekends and at the times we often want to visit (say early pm), the airfield it is either closed for aeromodel days or closed due to events on at the showground. Could have utilised the pass alot more but sometimes are restricted as to when we can go. Restaurant very good and museums/gardens and falconry centre are all worthy of a visit. Runway is very well maintained as is the whole airfield.
  • Quality and value of food / drink: 4
  • Standard of runway: 4
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 4
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 3
  • Friendliness of welcome: 4
  • GA pilot briefing facilities: 2
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1 Jun 08 - Leia Fee - Swansea
Flew in for this year's Project Propeller, and got a great welcome. Friendly and unflappable FISOs kept 100-plus aircraft moving smoothly and happily, the museum was stunning and the location very scenic. Some of the taxying areas were a bit boggy after all the rain but that probably also had something to do with a aforementioned 100-plus aircraft trolling back and forth all day! It's probably fine normally.
  • Standard of runway: 3
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 5
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 5
  • Friendliness of welcome: 5
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11 Feb 04 - Gavin Eldridge - Leicester
Superb airfield, with a fantastic variety of aircraft, amazing displays have a look at their website for details.
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10 Sep 03 - Mike Lindsay - Norwich
This is the home of the Shuttleworth collection of historic aircraft. We visited this A/f on Sept 9th. Staff were very friedly and helpful. There is a delightfully informal and friendly atmosphere about this place.
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Pilot reviews of Old Warden Airfield

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Articles Events Links News Surveys Tips Other users Feedback UKGA membership About UKGA